With the holidays nearing, most of us identify the next few weeks as the season for home cooked meals and celebrations. The campaign “The Story of Your Dinner” from the nonprofit “Fight Bac!” collaborates with other nonprofits and companies to provide food safety best practices and resources to home cooks and families.

“We’re excited to showcase the many food safety steps taken – from farm and processing to retail and, finally, in the home kitchen – to safely prepare food for our loved ones,” says Shelley Feist, Executive Director for the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE).

Close attention

The campaign stresses a set of guidelines, the “Core Four” to ensure best food safety practices, which are simple but essential:

1. Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often

2. Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate

3. Cook: Cook to the safe internal temperature

4. Chill: Refrigerate or freeze promptly

PFSE focuses exclusively on consumer education and does not work directly with policy.  “We wanted to engage some of the leading companies that really care that these messages get to consumers, and that’s what led us to the development of the ‘The Story of Your Dinner,’” says Feist. “Many health organizations use our materials to reach out to their communities. Much of what we do is ensure that those messengers are aware of the availability of this material.”

Spreading the word

A lot of PFSE’s food safety education is in the form of face-to-face conversations with consumers, mostly by partnering with various retailers.

When it comes to childhood education, each classroom is different in its curriculum on food safety. “We work to make sure that we have great materials so we can be a go-to destination,” says Feist. She discusses the importance of educating childcare centers, for both the caregivers and the children. Young children are much more likely to be hospitalized for foodborne illnesses, especially children under five years.

Educational materials on food safety from organizations like PFSE exist in forms ranging from printable placemats to written guidelines and tips for parents, making it possible to include everyone in the family establishing healthy habits for food safety.